Thursday, June 9

Ninjas and Scrolls

Deadly ninja action abound in GONZO's Basilisk.

What's this? A dark, bloody and supernatural-themed ninja action series NOT from Studio Madhouse? How can it be? Well, believe it, otakus. Basilisk is one of the three latest releases from the GONZO workshops (the other two being Speedgrapher and Trinity Blood) and so far it is delicious.
Set in feudal age Japan, Basilisk: The Koga Ninja Scrolls chronicles how the Shogun, Ieyasu Tokugawa, schemes to choose his successor by re-starting an age-old blood feud between two clans of deadly, super-powered ninja; the Koga and the Iga. For the past decades these two factions have been held apart by an uneasy peace, but now, that peace is broken. Each of the clans is aligned with a claimant to the throne- ten ninja have been selected from each clan, and these 20 warriors must engage in battles to the death. For the winner, 1000 years of good fortune and support from the ruling shogunate. For the losers... annihalation.

This isn't your usual ninja anime- it's really along more of the lines of the classic Ninja Scroll, with deadly and often grotesque superhuman abilities taking precedence over ordinary swords and shuriken. Here, the character designs rule the day with mostly UGLY men and several very comely women. There is much scheming and conspiracy along with the open ninja combat, so this looks to be very interesting. Adding a bit of spice is the fact that the supposed leaders of both clans- Gennosuke of the Koga and Oboro of the Iga- are very much in love with each other. A sort of twisted Romeo and Juliet tale. But will it end terribly? Or will somehow love triumph?

Well, the only thing for certain is that a lot of ninja blood will be shed before this new title is over. Darn, it's my new guilty pleasure series of the season. Check it out at your local anime dealers.

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